Enforcement against joggers, walkers and other trespassers along North County’s rail corridors will be significantly increased beginning Monday, according to the North County Transit District officials.
The focus of the increased enforcement will be on the rail corridors from Oceanside to San Diego and between Oceanside and Escondido, according to NCTD.
Anyone crossing the track illegally or trespassing on the railroad right- of-way will face criminal penalties for their violation of the law by NCTD’s transit enforcement officers, or the San Diego County Sheriff’s transit enforcement services unit. The penalties for trespassing on the railroad right- of-way can result in fines up to $500 and 6 months in jail.
“There’s an increasing problem we are seeing, and it needs to be stopped now,” Jaime Becerra, NCTD chief of transit enforcement said. “Every day, people are blatantly risking their life as they illegally cross these tracks.
“What they don’t realize is that they are also risking the lives of hundreds of other people, too,” Becerra said.
Each time a train comes to an emergency stop due to trespassers on or near the track, there is a risk of injury to the passengers and train crews who didn’t expect a sudden stop, according to Becerra.
“A train doesn’t stop like a car, and it definitely can’t swerve like a car,” he said.
In addition to the risk of injury, emergency stops require an inspection of the rail after they occur. This legally mandated inspection delays passengers on that particular train, and can adversely affect the rest of the rail corridor. The inspection and delays can result in not just a cost of time, but an economic burden to passengers unable to get to work, and to taxpayers who pay for the inspection.
“With a trespasser on the rails, the best-case scenario is that hundreds of passengers are inconveniently delayed due to an emergency stop. But far too often the results are tragic,” Sean Loofbourrow, NCTD’s safety chief said. “There is no such thing as illegally crossing a railroad track safely. It’s always unsafe, and it’s always wrong to jeopardize the safety of others just for the convenience of crossing where you want to cross.”
—City News Service